The VZ 70 (Travis Pike for TTAG)
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I’ve always wanted a Walther PPK in .32 ACP. They are neat little guns but haven’t been made or imported in what seems like forever. James Bond is always associated with the PPK, and the PPK is always associated with the .380. However, it bears mentioning that the original Bond PPK was a .32 ACP. According to Q, it hit like a brick through a plate glass window. Sadly, the .32 ACP PPKs are expensive. Do you know what’s not expensive and is pretty close to a PPK? A VZ 70.

The VZ 70 isn’t a Walther or even a German gun, but it’s something more like a Czech cousin once removed. The VZ 70 is a blowback-operated, compact pistol that has some very Walther-like cues. The barrel is fixed and doubles as the recoil rod. The gun fires from a single-stack magazine has a DA/SA action and has a safety decocker combination. It’s not a Walther, but it scratches my itch for an overly heavy, metal framed .32 ACP.

What’s the VZ 70

The VZ 70 is an evolution of the VZ 50. The VZ is an abbreviation for Vzor, which means model in Czech. The VZ 50 was designed as a police pistol for the police that fell under the Ministry of the Interior. Czech gun designers come in pairs for one reason or another, and both the CZ 75 and VZ 50 had a pair of brothers leading the charge. Jan and Jaroslav Kratochvíl designed the VZ 50.

The VZ 50 became the VZ 70 in 1970. The gun was basically the same in principle, but a number of updates were made. The changes are mostly small. They amounted to mostly ergonomic changes. There were other things, like where the serial number was stamped. Overall, the biggest change between the two was the grip shape.

The VZ 70 isn’t a Walther, but its pretty close. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Try as the Czechs might, the VZ 70 can’t escape that Cold War Soviet style. It’s a big, heavy steel gun that isn’t refined or fancy. The grips are that ugly but effective bakelite. Plus, it’s a big heavy pistol in a somewhat anemic caliber, at least anemic as far as duty guns go. All traits of the glorious Soviet Union.

Yet, like most of the Czech designs, there is some refinement to it. It’s smooth with angles that make it look attractive. While it’s very Walther-like, it’s got its own flair and doesn’t just clone Bond’s favorite gun. A gun that weighs 25 ounces and chambers the .32 ACP.

The Ergonomics of the VZ 70

This oddball of a gun has an odd grip shape. It’s quite thick for a .32 ACP pistol. You can try to make the excuse that it’s a product of its era, but the Colt M1903 offered a much thinner grip and so did the Savage M1907 and an entire list of pistols. The grip is dummy thick and feels like a 2×4.

Oooh boy, that thing is thick. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The safety is frame-mounted and not slide-mounted like a Walther. It’s also a three-position design. It has a fire and safe, and the third position decocks the gun. The VZ 70 could be carried locked and cocked with the safety on. The safety is easy enough to use and to reach with your thumb.

It’s fire, safe, and decock, so the gun could be carried locked and cocked. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The magazine release sits forward on the grips and is small and awkward to reach. It won’t be the quickest magazine change because the magazine doesn’t drop freely. On the opposite side of the safety and magazine release sits a weird button. That’s actually designed to allow you to disassemble the gun.

To the Range With the VZ 70

The blowback principle ensures you feel every little bit of recoil from the little .32 ACP. Luckily, it isn’t much, but it’s more than you expect. It’s got a little punch to it, but way less than its .380 counterparts. Controlling the gun and keeping it on target isn’t difficult. I imagine if I needed to chase down a thought criminal behind the iron curtain, this would be a fine gun to use. Political enemies of the communist party wouldn’t stand a chance and neither did my steel target.

Recoil from the .32 ACP wasn’t bad, but was worse than expected. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Accuracy is fine as long as the conditions are optimal. Optimal means I can take my time to find the small sights and get them lined up nicely. It also means I forget the double-action trigger entirely. If you ever feel like you want to work your hands out, then grab a VZ 70. The double action is absolutely atrocious. It’s brutal, long, heavy, gritty and just bad.

On the flip side, the single action is light and crisp. Surprisingly so. The double action might as well be an additional safety. With the single action and time to align the sights, I can hit targets as far as 25 yards. I can even hit them over and over. Up close, within 10 yards, I can shoot the VZ 70 fast enough that I’d trust it for defensive purposes. I can land every round from the eight-round magazine into the black of a B8 target in about 6.5 seconds if I start with the gun in single action.

The double action trigger will make your hands stronger. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Does It Run

I went through 300 rounds of .32 ACP without a hitch. It took a couple of range trips, and I worked the double action enough that my right hand has gotten stronger. It’s a very enjoyable gun to shoot, so I can’t complain too much.

It wouldn’t be my first choice, but it could be a carry gun in a pinch. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

AmmoToGo sponsored my ammo for the review. I used primarily Magtech lead round-nose ammo. I also had some PMC Bronze standard FMJs. It all fed without issue, and with the price of .32 ACP, I’m appreciative to AmmoToGo for sending me 300 rounds to throw downrange for testing.

As a CZ fan, the VZ 70 series fits well in their long and extensive catalog. It’s not quite a pistol I’m going to carry, but if it was my only option, I’d feel comfortable and well-armed with it. It’s robust and accurate enough, and although it lacks modern flair, it goes bang when I need it to.

Check out Ammo To Go, the ammunition retail sponsor of TTAG gun reviews. Get your bulk and quality ammo for a bargain by visiting their site

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    • I once met a guy who was a war criminal and who claimed he deliberately tested various pistols on execution efficiency. Dark topic yes. He reported that it took 5 rounds of 32ACP fired into the head vs roughly two 9mm Luger vs roughly 1 45ACP. Changing the 32 bullet from FMJ to half jacketed (soft lead on all the ogive), revised to 1 round. This is a horrible topic and I apologize. None the less if someone wishes to use 32 ACP as a home defense round maybe test half jackets by some means more ethical. I suspect the pure lead nose on the half jacket will at least slightly expand into gelatin but am guessing will significantly expand on bone.

      • Oh I dont believe that.
        5 shots to the head to kill somebody with a .32?
        What percentage, and two shots from a 9mm, well 9mm is a two shot wonder but I bet I could kill anybody with one shot to the back of the head with a .22LR. Well 80% of the time anyway.

        • Agree. I’ve put down enough critters with .22 to know, plus a “professional” put my big quarter horse down with a .22.
          I once put a .380 to a doe’s head to put her out of her misery and it was instant lights out.

        • Roger D: That’s what they used to shoot Ken Eto but it failed.

          I think in NY, they tend to use .32s and .380s.

        • “day see an gonna give you tongue lashin’.”

          A lady friend says that’s her *favorite*.

          (Cue the feigned outrage from you-know-who… 😉 )

      • Richard, if you like the .32, go for it. It has little if any stopping power even with today’s tech. The minimum for home defense should be the 9mm. I personally prefer the .40 S&W. If I ever have to shoot, I want the guy going down and not be able to laugh at me as he gets to me. (For your edification, a person can close the distance of 21 feet in less than 2 seconds).
        Most people I know with any decent training consider any round less than 9mm to have the potency of a bee sting.

      • “I once met a guy who was a war criminal…”

        I once met a guy who said he was Jesus, but he couldn’t speak a word of Hebrew or Aramaic. Either you are lying, or you are gullible enough to believe a liar.

  1. I actually had one in .32 back in the early 80s. Shot it a few times and hated it. The grip was such that when the slide cycled it would physically cut the skin on the web of my hand. I wasn’t sure if it was my grip or my fat hands that caused the problem. I could not find a comfortable way to hold it and shoot. So I sold it.

    • Hogue Hand-all Jr grip sleeve for $10 would have fixed it, or a couple of wraps of hockey tape.

      • I’ve had a Handall Jr. on a Taurus 709 for year’s. My wife appropriated it. Calls it “Mr. Blastie”. It works quite well. Oh so where do find 32acp?

        • Online orders if legal, some bass pro/Cabela’s, pawn shops, and gun stores that tend towards older models in about that order. Or reloading with extreme patience.

    • “The grip was such that when the slide cycled it would physically cut the skin on the web of my hand.”

      My AMT ‘Backup’ in .380 would do that, not fun to experience. But it was such a solid chunk of metal of a gun I still back-pocket carried it for years…

  2. A gun that even more closely resembles the Walther PPK is the Sig Sauer P232.
    It’s almost an exact lookalike.

    “I imagine if I needed to chase down a thought criminal behind the iron curtain, this would be a fine gun to use.”
    Hey, there’s no need for New Jersey jokes!

  3. Off topic is shooting the VZ50 roller locking Czech pistol with the surplus Czech AP ammo. If you cut open the bullet there’s a little tungsten alloy penetrator shaped like a 177 pellet inside. The steel case ammo is reportedly loaded for SMG or the VZ50 but hard on typical 7.62×25 pistols. Anyway firing into a stack of roughly 12” feldspar rocks, would split and shatter them worse than a 30-06 FMJ. The weird little penetrator would get right in. No signs of ricochet. Recoil is significant despite heavy steel gun, but I find a joy to shoot.

  4. I had one of these and wish that i had another. These are unsung little gems that, when properly used are quite effective.

    I am having a custom holster made for my Zastava M70 in 7.65 x 17 (a.k.a. .32 ACP). This is a single-action, single-stack, steel-framed pustol that will surely do the job when I call upon it. All I have to do is put the bullets where I wish, and God will handle the outcome.

  5. Never owned the ppk. But I have owned quite a few milsurps. Great fun.

    I bought a surplus West German pp in .32 acp back in the 80’s. That was a fun gun and my favorite Walther.

  6. “Plus, it’s a big heavy pistol in a somewhat anemic caliber”

    Then why? I would settle for reading about the history. Owning something like that is not my cup of tea.

    An old gun that is too heavy for what it chambers in a chambering that is anemic and not readily available. No thanks.

  7. I would not spend more than $225.00 walkout price for used in very good condition with the box and 3 mags. It’s going to need some work per the review, the safety IMO makes what is a pocket-pal worth looking at.

  8. I got on a 9×18 kick a while back and had a few pistols. The only one I kept was the CZ82! Love it! Great milsurp for carry, and sometimes I do!

    • Roger that on the CZ82. Good shooting gun in 9mm Mak and feels good in the hand. Got that and a CZ83 which is identical, and uses the same mags, but is .380 ACP. Now that I think about it there may be one difference other than caliber, the 82 has a polygonal bore whereas the 83 has traditional rifling. Back to the article’s subject, the CZ70, I have two of those and slidebite CAN be an issue. As to .32ACP for defensive purposes, I opt for Underwood Xtreme Defender which has a Lehigh/Honeybadger fluted projectile. That’s what I keep in a Keltec P32. Yes, sometimes I carry the P32.

  9. I’ve been looking for one of these at Pawn Shops. Either a 50 or a 70 would be fine.

    The .32 is a very underrated cartridge today. Self defense is 3 shots at 3 yards in 3 seconds. Speed and accuracy are WAY more important than caliber as long as sufficient penetration is achieved. USE FMJ or a monolithic copper like Lehigh defender Xtreme Defender or Penetrator. .

    380 is slow and hard to shoot in smaller micro guns and even in a gun the size of a CZ-70 or the Walther PPK the .32 is faster and easier to shoot

    • I bought a Beretta 81 .32 Cheetah Italian police turn-in. Heavy, but engineered AF, I quite like shooting it. Accurate, too, for such a small pistol.

      • Yes, I have two of those 81’s, as well. They are quite nice to shoot. Typical Beretta quality, which is to say “excellent”.

  10. .32 seems like a good round for where nobody else is armed.
    it might be safe to say that it beats .25. but they’re both a bit femwee. you lube them with fds.

  11. I had several opportunities over the years to buy stone cold mint new guns of both models but unlike most people I did my homework on their history first. There were two models and both were known to have frequent parts breakage so I passed on both and do not regret it.

  12. Hmm – for yet another alternative how about a North American Arms in .32acp or if ya got the $$$ a Seecamp. Or a Beretta Tomcat.
    .32 is one of those calibers that is better than nothing and does have its place.

  13. I have a .25 raven. Would I carry it today? No. But I have seen what it will do to a 2×4 and wouldn’t want to get shot in the face by one.

  14. For citizens in California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, New York and several other states. The only obscure object of desire, they wish for is their 2nd amendment Rights.

  15. PPK?
    I’m a Walther fan (Black Tie, PPQ, P99 Titanum, P5s (7 of them, twin barrels, even an unobtanium Lang 6″ barrel), yet not a single PPK.
    I own a SIG P232 though, it was designed to be a “better” option to the PPK. Even with a Walther bias I think SIG nailed it.
    Get yourself a P230 or P232 and consider yourself better off.

  16. A temporary phone number , also known as a disposable or burner phone number, is a virtual or physical phone number used for a short duration and then discarded. These numbers are often employed for privacy and security reasons, allowing individuals to maintain a level of anonymity while communicating or engaging in online activities.

  17. The Radom P64 has a much closer resemblance to the PPK and is chambered in 9×18, so it packs a good punch for its size. There are just two catches: The recoil is absolutely monstrous out of this little bastard, and even with a lighter Wolff mainspring, it’s still the longest and heaviest double-action trigger I’ve ever used. The single action, meanwhile, is like butta, but the safety is also a decocker so you can’t carry it cocked & locked.

    • lol on the monstrous recoil m mmmm….
      lol on the “monstrous” recoil. I own two P-64’s and they are not by far The heaviest in my stable. Have you ever shot a .44 with hot reloads or a real 10mm with full power loads?

      man up, yes it is a bit snappy and can surprise a less -experienced shooter who has not yet built up recoil management muscle memory. The stick grips on the P-64 are thin and have a poorly-fitted seam in the back which tends to saw at the web if the hand. A bit if sandpaper fixes this in an ugly way or a rubber grip sleeve covers it up while fattening the grip to Makarov PM width. The standard Makarov isn’t considered monstrous to shoot and the only real design difference is the grip size.

        • muh girly hands. Autumn from Autumn’s Armory probably could one-hand a P-64 all day and she is 11

      • I shoot 10mms and .357’s all the time and yeah, the really small Maks can be very snappy.

        Don’t have a P-64, I will when I can find one with that really good blue finish- but my FEG SMC(?) can be real snappy, especially if the slide catches my hand.

  18. IMO, a .32 is sufficient with Sellier & Bellot or Fiocchi ammo for defense. I don’t think the American brands are loaded hot enough for sufficient penetration.

  19. the left hates guns and will do whatever they can to limit the second amendment, so in a way you say whatever in comments. But when I read some of these comments on a public forum I can’t help but wonder at the odd desire some of us have to make the gun community look as creepy as possible.

  20. Peace fam i mean no disrespect i just wanna make a new connection

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